Wednesday, August 29, 2012

At the Crossroads (of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue)

For the sheer fun of it, the other day we took over the stomping grounds of the New York Times' style photographer Bill Cunningham. He goes in the morning (we think); we went toward the evening. Remembering that the Yayoi Kusama promotion is still going strong at Louis Vuitton (the building on the corner), as you can see we brought the appropriate accessories.

Continuing with the polka dot theme:
We spotted this woman in black and white polka dots, but what really blew us away (can you guess?) was the HAT. We asked who the maker was - there are so few these days that we thought for sure we'd recognize it. The woman thought for a moment, shrugged, and said in a lilting foreign accent, "I got it in Paris." Kudos to this lady, who knows how to pose to great effect.

We thought you'd ask for a close-up, so here it is! Bill Cunningham would immediately dispose of this photo, saying trees and a light pole seem to be coming out of her head. Things like that separate the pros from the amateurs. But don't look at the light pole. Look at the loop at the top of the hat, and the small black ball suspended within it. That's why we're giving you the close-up. It's all in the details!

More polka dots. There was a woman standing just behind her with a polka dot bag, too (off camera).

We're thinking this shirt might have come from the LV boutique, but we haven't confirmed that.

She was going at a good clip, and we can't afford a Leica yet, so this photo is blurry, but we wanted you to see the marvelous white piping on her black shoes. She was dotted and striped, and looked SO put together!

Whom should we run into on the corner but designer and quilt artist Katherine Knauer, who was stopping by to check out the Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry windows on 57th and 5th? She'd worked on the installation of the fall collection and wanted to see the finished product. We had no idea that diamond jewelry designs also had "seasons". It reminded us of Mae West's famous line: "These are my summer diamonds ... some are diamonds and some are not." Mae's other famous response to someone' exclamation "Goodness, what lovely diamonds" was "Goodness had nothin' to do with it."

Valerie just happened to have two red polka dot balls in her bag (what a coincidence!) and couldn't resist displaying them.

Katherine turned the tables and took a photo of us. As you can see, we're our usual deliriously happy selves.

We are old enough to remember when there weren't gray haired ladies so much as there were blue haired ladies. But the blue haired ladies of our childhood never looked like the lady in the center of this trio. You go, girl!

We loved this woman's pixie cut (so right for her features!). And she's doing minimalist dressing with maximum effect.

Although this gorgeous lady relocated here from Haiti many years ago, she maintains a fabulous accent! Loved her cool combination of blue on blue, with marvelous shibori shawl, flat sandals and a white bag. She was sweet enough to indulge us and let us take her photo. (Her friend, who arrived just after, declined our request.)

Sorry we don't have more men in our selection. There were quite a few eligible guys out and about, but we weren't quick enough to get most of them. We liked this guy's clean crisp anti-button down look, and his Tuareg hat.

We liked how this lady put herself together but...

...the pieces de resistance were her neon sneakers.

We found this woman a block away on Madison Avenue, and were drawn to her big statement necklace, which is nevertheless extremely simple. We thought this would look terrific on a woman of any age!

Here's a close-up of that, too. When we asked her about the necklace, she happily reported that she'd gotten it in Chinatown last year, and paid about $10 for it. How's that for resourceful? Proof positive that style does not have to be expensive.

Too bad we didn't get this great looking couple from the front. (Well, we would have if they had been traveling in the right direction!) His turban looks traditional; hers is strictly fashionable. And love that dress on her.

Sometimes you just can't catch a break. We could have photographed this gorgeous woman from the front so you could see all her perfectly coordinated details (including hair and makeup), but we ASKED, losing precious seconds. She indicated that it would be ok when she got off her cell phone (oops - Valerie thought she was texting), and the next thing we knew she was on her way. New Yorkers are all busy! So we got this picture from this angle. There must be about five people in New York who can wear a bowl cut and look breathtaking. This lady is one of them. (And the peplum jacket - we think it's Zara - was made for her.)

This young gent, a study in black and white (down to the black hat and white headset), suddenly appeared in front of us while we were looking for our next Fabulous Person. We took this as quickly as we could while we - and he - were all walking.

When the light turned red at 57th Street, and all three of us were bunched at the corner, he turned around and asked if he could take our picture, and we burst out laughing because we really wanted to take his too (from the front, that is). We showed him the picture above that we'd taken secretly. Then he burst out laughing because he'd done the same thing when he was walking behind us!

In any case, of course we said yes, he could take our picture (we never say no), on the condition that he let us take his picture, too, and so began our Mutual Admiration Society.

Turns out he's a graphic designer. Rolly (Rolando Robinson for long) whipped out his iPhone with the red and white polka dot cover (homage to Kusama, he said), and we, with yet more laughter, responded by whipping out one of the red and white polka dot balls. (We used to be in the Boy Scouts, er, Girl Scouts, and are always prepared.)

We have to take a moment to point out that Rolly is wearing a shapeless round rib knit wool hat (think Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), but he's wearing it high on his head, not down around his ears, and he's pushed all the extra material to the front, so his hat appears to have a pompadour, and he's turned nothing into SOMEthing. Work that hat, Rolly!

At the top of today's post is the photo Rolly took with his iPhone when we posed for him. Below is the photo he took of us from behind, both of which he was kind enough to forward to us.

It's SO good to know we're not the only ones photographing people from behind.

What we're wearing:

Jean is wearing a vintage plastic black and white gumball necklace; black and white polka dot metal earrings; Theory tee shirt; H&M tube skirt; TUK creepers; black leather zipper cross-body bag from a street vender (under $20); black plastic bracelet and watch from Canal Street.

Valerie is wearing a vintage Perry Ellis jacket (thrift shop), the Issey Miyake dress she coveted for a year and only bought a few weeks ago (for a very good price), and unlabeled shoes (consignment shop).


  1. One of my favorite entries yet!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog, ladies!! I found you through Advanced Style and I check your blog every day hoping for more eye candy. You two have amazing style (both in fashion and writing) and I'm so glad I found your blog. Thanks for always brightening my day!

  2. I had to laugh at the thought that Valerie just happened to have two red & white polka dot balls in her bag. I would love those neon sneakers and the silver statement necklace -great street style photos ladies! You could give Bill a run for his money, and who notices hydro poles when your subject is wearing a hat like that? Rolly is adorable!

  3. With hats or without you are inspiring!

  4. I'm crazy about your blog it gives me inspiration to be more colorful although black is a color with you. Found you through Style Crone and Advance Style

  5. thanks for sharing.